As a young child, Harry Potter comes into the possession of a book that will teach him a quality more valuable than all of the gold in Gringotts bank - MANIPULATION.
"My liege, a man by the name of Ala Shurk awaits you in the guest room. Shall I allow him in?" John looked down upon his loyal servant with dark but sparkling eyes. He was proud of what he had built here, but he knew that without the servants of the manor, it would be nothing. It would just be another castle, like the thousands of others around England, although perhaps some not so nice as his own.
"Yes, let him in." Charles nodded solemnly and walked out of the room. A moment later, he came back in with a man of... well, he was mid-eastern anyway – John had never been a good judge of such things.
"You are very welcome, sir Shurk. Make yourself at home." The man was tall. Not overly so, but enough to catch one's attention. His skin was darkened by many years in the sun, and his white teeth made for a nearly shocking contrast against it. His eyes were very near to John's own, but they held a depth and serenity which John's did not. The man took a seat upon one of the ornately carved wooden chairs just opposite of his own.
"I thank you for your hospitality, sir Potter. My family will be very thankful for your business." John smiled and nodded.
"Indeed. I hope you can provide the services I require. You were suggested by a good friend of mine who said that you were quite handy in the mental arts, and even more talented in the area of analyzation." Ala nodded.
"Yes. Those are my primary fields." There was a pause for a moment while the two many surveyed each other. "What is it that you would have me do, Mr. Potter?"
"I would like you to write a book." Ala nodded but did not look entirely pleased at this proposition.
"What kind of book are you suggesting?"
"A book on the magic of the mind."
"There are many books on legillimancy. It is a well known and highly practiced art, and I doubt that I could write anything better than what is already written."
"Not a book on legillimancy – a book on the /mind/."
"How do you mean?"
"What I mean is this. I have, for many years, learned how to manipulate people through my words." John continued rapidly when he saw Ala become slightly alarmed. "I do not mean by magic. I mean through sheer wit and charm. It comes quite naturally to me now, but I would like to pass on what I have learned to my descendants so that they may themselves become handy on such matters. It is paramount to me, the survival and wealth of my descendants, which is the reason I would like to write this book. I have neither the time nor the patience for such a task, but you seem to me the ideal man the job." Ala looked speculative, but still had a note of wariness in his eyes.
"I... see. And if I were to write this book, what would I get in return?"
"Well, for one, you would get the invaluable knowledge of how to manipulate and influence people." Ala looked like he was about to protest at there being no monetary gain, but John chuckled and continued.
"I could, of course, also arrange for a payment of, say... twenty-thousand galleons." Ala's eyes widened and his jaw dropped at the figure – such funds were unheard of from where he came from. That much money was enough to support a man for twenty years.
"Done!" He nearly shouted it out, likely eager to take the chance before it disappeared into thin air. "When shall we begin working, Mr. Potter?"
John smiled at the man's eagerness. He would likely kill him just as the book was finished – he did not have so much money and even if he did he would not part with it. He held no love for outsiders such as this 'Ala Shurk' and would not regret committing such an act.
"We begin now."
They say that the early bird gets the worm. To Harry though, nothing could be further from the truth.
"Boy! If you're not out in ten minutes you'll be in that cupboard for a week!" Harry knew that this was likely an idle threat, but groaned and crawled out of his cupboard all the same. Best not to take chances with such things.
Making his way to the kitchen, he stumbled in and began to make breakfast for the Dursley's. He wasn't overly careful with any of the food, but he doubted that Dudley or Vernon would give a wit whether the food was undercooked or not. Petunia, it seemed, was slightly anorexic and turned up her nose to anything that could possibly make her even the slightest bit 'fat'. Even so, she retained the ability to entirely ignore her own child and husband's obesity. How a woman could be so blind Harry could only guess.
Soon the rashers, pancakes, bacon, and eggs were done sufficiently to place on the table. The smell must have brought Dudley downstairs sometime earlier as he was already seated at the table, watching Harry with beady little eyes.
"Watch it freak." This was not said because of anything Harry had done, but rather as a reflex reaction driven into him by his own over-inflated ego. Harry had never cared overly much when it came to being called names, especially considering he had grown up with it his entire life. Putting the plate on the table, he set a massive mound of food on it and left the pig to gorge himself fabulously.
If only he would choke... Harry thought half seriously. He didn't really wish death on his relatives, but he didn't exactly wish them health and happiness either. He shook his head slightly and called for Vernon to come eat his breakfast (politely of course). The man did, but with some reluctance as he was watching the telly. All the same, the moment his eyes saw the food, the morning cartoons were a thing of the past and he was on it like a ravenous lion.
Harry left as quickly as he could and opened the front door. It was, unsurprisingly, rainy outside, and Harry could see puddles down the cobbled street as far as the eye could see. He smiled happily at this, and walked outside to meet them – puddle jumping was one of his favorite past-times. Soon he was soaked and felt thouroughly joyful. Nothing could be equal to the feeling of the elements whipping across his skin and the satisfaction of having jumped his farthest yet. Smiling, he was about to walk inside when he heard a swoosh to his left. Turning around, he spotted a brown owl with a strange brown package tied to its leg. Harry thought this was curious, and even slightly exciting.
/Maybe it's one of those war birds that soldiers use to send secret messages! /Harry had been learning about World War I in primary, and he remembered that they used that method to send things back and forth over enemy lines to spies.
"Hoot." The bird tilted its head, and Harry mirrored it in delight.
"Hey birdy. What's your name?"
"Hoot hoot." Harry laughed at the almost humanlike response and moved a bit closer.
"What've you got there?" The owl tilted its head the other way and held out its leg. Harry closed the last couple of feet between him and the bird and fingered the package.
"Is it for me?" He only meant it half seriously, and didn't really dare to hope that it could be for him. He was amazed, though, when the bird continued to hold out the leg. With fumbling fingers, he untied the string that held the package on and was surprised when the bird shot off into the distance. Shaking his head at the thing's odd behavior, he hastily opened the nondescript brown wrapping paper. Once open, he saw that the thing was a book. A very old book if he was any judge. There was no title, and it felt dusty even under his damp fingers. Opening it to the front page, he saw that it looked almost handwritten. The lettering was ornate, but at the same time it looked scratchy, almost as if it had been done with a knife of some sort.
"This book is a guide for my descendants in the art of manipulation. Use it wisely." Harry's mind was whirling.
Did this come from my dad? Harry had long ago lost hope that he would ever see anything of his parents. The Durselys where near religious in their strange hate of them, and any objects related to them must have long ago disappeared in the trash heap. As Harry stood there in the rain with nothing but an over-sized t-shirt and baggy pants for protection, a hope was sparked in him.
That spark would continue to grow, and with the proper ammunition, it would grow into a bright flame.